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Activating and Deactivating Features with PowerShell in SharePoint 2010

I was looking at the analytics of the site the other day and I noticed that my post, Enabling and Disabling Features with PowerShell, currently has the most traffic on the site.  I had always intended to write a follow up post on this, so here it is.  Today I’m going to talk about how to enable and disable features using PowerShell.  It’s great that you know how to deploy solutions now with PowerShell, but now you want to activate your features.

In SharePoint 2007 to activate a feature from the command line you might have used a statement like the one below.  I’ll use the Reporting feature on my server named sp2010 as an example.  The value specified in the name parameter refers to the actual folder name of the feature that is in your SharePoint Root folder (14 hive).

stsadm.exe –o activatefeature –name Reportingurl http://sp2010

To get started with PowerShell, run the SharePoint 2010 Management Console located in your Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products folder on your start menu.  This automatically loads the Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell snapin so that we can execute SharePoint commands.    You might have noticed earlier that I said we will talk about enabling and disabling features.  The words enable and disable are key here because PowerShell uses those verbs to activate and deactivate features.  To issue the same command above but with PowerShell, we use the Enable-SPFeature command.  The rest of the syntax is pretty similar as you can see below.  Just use –Identity to specify the name of the feature.  You can even pass the –Force command like you could with stsadm.exe.

Enable-SPFeature –Identity Reporting –url http://sp2010

If your command worked successfully, you will see nothing and just get a blank prompt back.

PowerShellEnableSPFeatureNoOutput

If you would like to get some feedback from the command, you can have it return the SPFeature object back to you by specifying the –PassThru parameter.

PowerShellEnableSPFeaturePassThru

We can confirm that the feature did in fact activate successfully using the SharePoint UI.

PowerShellReportingFeatureEnabledUI

Can we confirm that the feature is enabled with PowerShell?  Yes, we can by using Get-SPFeature.  Now this cmdlet behaves differently depending upon the parameters passed through it.  For example, if you type the following, it lists every feature on the SharePoint farm along with its Id and Scope.

Get-SPFeature

However, if you want to know which features are enabled, you can pass it a URL for a given scope (i.e.: –Web, –Site, –WebApplication, and –Farm).  So to get a list of all Site Collection scoped features, we would use the –Site parameter.

Get-SPFeature –Site http://sp2010

PowerShellGetSPFeatureSite

You can still specify a specific feature or even use Where-Object to query the list as well.

Get-SPFeature –Identity Reporting –Site http://sp2010

PowerShellGetSPFeatureSiteSpecific

If you get something like you see in the screenshot above, you know the feature has been activated.  When the feature hasn’t been activated, you will get a lovely red error message.

PowerShellGetSPFeatureSiteSpecificNotEnabled

The Enable-SPFeature command can also take a Pipe Bind from Get-SPFeature.  This means that you could even activate multiple features at once this way.  I’ll include an example of this in the future.

At some point, you will want to disable that feature you activated.  As you probably guessed, the cmdlet you want is Disable-SPFeature.  You use the same parameters that you use with Enable-SPFeature.  When you execute the command, it prompts for confirmation as you can see in the screenshot.

Disable-SPFeature –Identity Reporting –url http://sp2010

PowerShellDisableSPFeatureWithConfirmation

If you want to disable confirmation, you can pass the –confirm:$false parameter.

Disable-SPFeature –Identity Reporting –url http://sp2010 –Confirm:$false

PowerShellDisableSPFeatureNoConfirmation

Setting the confirm parameter eliminates the confirmation prompt and you can use it with other PowerShell cmdlets as well.  That is all that is involved in activating and deactivating features with PowerShell.  It’s pretty easy.   Hopefully, you can incorporate these commands in your deployment scripts.

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More Stories By Corey Roth

Corey Roth, a SharePoint Server MVP, is an independent consultant specializing in Cloud technologies such as Azure and Office 365. He also specializes in mobile development. Corey serves as the product manager for two cloud-first mobile app platforms: BrewZap and HappenZap.